Obama makes 2015 Ford Mustang 400 lbs. less safe

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as much as 715.

The Wall Street Cheat Sheet reports:

Crash diets may be a fad during bikini season, but muscle cars have always been able to avoid such concerns. Enter modern engineering and the EPA with its pesky modern fuel economyrequirements. Both seem to be weighing on the 2015 Ford (NYSE:F) Mustang. Instead of bulking up and going bigger, the 2015 will slim down some 400 pounds, according to Edmunds. Maybe 50 really is the new 30 for Ford’s reigning track burner.

An inside source told Edmunds the 2015 Stang will tip the scales at least 400 pounds less than the 2014 model does by becoming narrower and shorter, as well as through the use of lighter materials. In fact, the source told the car site that better engineering would pull off most of the weight loss without sacrificing feel or performance. Nor will it affect the price of the base model. Fuel economy was considered a major factor behind it.

Below is our May 2009 take on Obama’s fuel economy standards.


CAFE Obama: Proposed mileage standards would kill more Americans than Iraq War

May 19, 2009, GreenHellBlog.com

The Obama administration’s proposed mileage standards that will be announced today may kill more Americans at a faster rate than the Iraq War — his signature issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

Obama’s standards will require automakers to meet a 35 miles-per-gallon standard by 2016 — four years earlier than the same standard imposed by the Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007.

As discussed in my new book Green Hell, the only way for carmakers to meet these standard is to make smaller, lighter and deadlier cars.

The National Academy of Sciences has linked mileage standards with about 2,000 deaths per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that every 100-pound reduction in the weight of small cars increases annual traffic fatalities by as much as 715.

In contrast in the more than six years since the Iraq war began, there have been 4,296 deaths among American military personnel.

There’s also another lesson hidden in the proposed standards — one that applies to businesses trying to game global warming legislation.

Carmakers lobbied hard against overly stringent mileage standards in the 2007 energy bill, finally negotiating with Congress a compromise standard they thought they at least had a chance to meet. President Obama has now pulled the rug out from under the carmakers and their 2007 deal.

This ought to serve as a lesson for businesses trying to negotiate a climate deal they think (hope) they can survive. Rest assured that as soon as business groups agree to a climate deal, the greens and the Obama administration will go to work the next day figuring out ways to bulldoze the deal in order to make greenhouse gas limitations more stringent and more expensive.

Businesses often operate under the mis-impression that they can cut lasting, win-win compromises with environmental groups on public policy. But such dealing is an impossibility since the greens are ideologically driven and won’t be happy until capitalism is stamped out. The greens are not interested in compromise. Like blood in the water to sharks, compromise by businesses signals its weakness and vulnerability, and, therefore, opportunity for the greens.

16 thoughts on “Obama makes 2015 Ford Mustang 400 lbs. less safe”

  1. I would point out that there are materials stronger than steel and lighter. Titanium comes to mind. Too bad we can’t afford it yet!!

    Then again, carbon fibre may be on the way!! If the vehicle is light enough it gets moved instead of collapsing. Would require better internal handling of G-forces on the passengers though.

  2. Hey, this is physics!!!

    Less weight means faster acceleration with the same power output!! Why do we buy Mustangs again?!?!?!


  3. The IRS added to the 1999-2003 Mustang Cobras only added 80 lbs, but reduced the un-sprung weight by over 200 pounds. That IRS setup was engineered to mount to the existing chassis as a self supporting unit. By designing the IRS as an intrical part of the chassis (as in the 2015 Mustang) the weight penalty would be even less or possibly none at all.

  4. I’m glad you clarified this. I was thinking lead in small packets air mailed to the greenies express.

  5. So, I made the calculation. Assuming 715 deaths with every 100 pounds taken off all cars in the US, and about 2% savings in fuel for every 100 pounds, that comes out to about $16 million per death. Government thinks your life is worth less than $16 million.

  6. Let’s start with Thing 1: there is no authority in the US Constitution for the federal government to establish fuel standards for vehicles. The Interstate Commerce Clause is intended to prevent trade barriers between states, so there’s serious doubt that states have any such authority either.
    There’s more of a case for pollution control but the CAFE isn’t a pollution control instrument, it’s an energy efficiency instrument.
    Thing Two: In a liberty society, the one I’d like to get back, people can choose the cars and trucks that meet their needs best. If people want smaller, lighter cars with higher gas mileage — and I do — we will have a range of cars that meet our needs because car makers know we’re out here. If people want bigger trucks or larger cars — my sweetheart drives a mini-van — we should have options to buy what we choose without a federal or state agency putting a hand on the market’s scales.
    Thing Three: by making newer cars less affordable and desirable, the federal standards are reducing the market for them. That’s got a ripple effect through the economy.
    Thing Four: yes, when a collision occurs, the lighter vehicles tend to crumple and/or bounce more than heavier cars do. The change in vehicle weight likely does affect traffic fatalities, although I would question the rigor of the 715-lives-per-100-pounds estimate. It’s a small effect among total car fatalities, but I’d be angry if it were my family in that small effect.

  7. Whoda thunk gas mileage was a compelling reason when you buy a V8 Mustang? There is an ad hoc car show every couple of weeks in Richmond. I’ll see how many Mustang guys are showing off their gas mileage.
    I certainly appreciated the difference in weight when the Dodge Neon driver ran the red light and into my Tahoe at 45 mph. I walked away from the accident, she didn’t.

  8. Of course it’s a joke, but in a collision, inertia can be just as important as structural strength. I was thinking more of pieces of lead plate stashed in the corners of the frame, or maybe poured into voids, rather than one big chunk in the trunk. Whatever helps you make a bigger dent in the other party or spreads the energy of the impact over time will contribute to your survival.

    My father totalled three Continentals in a series of spectacularly suicidal crashes, from which he walked away without a scratch. Every time, he said the car saved his life and bought another one just like it. The last time, he couldn’t afford a Continental, so now he is driving a Grand Marquis. Which is going to save his life even better.

  9. I’m glad they are reducing the weight. As Colin Chapman said, to add speed, add lightness.

    They are changing to independent rear suspension, too. That ADDS 150 pounds. I was always against it, as I don’t want the added weight of IRS.

  10. This article says that for every 100 pounds of weight taken off a car there are 715 more fatalities each year. We should see the other side of that equation: how much fuel is saved for every 100 pounds removed. That way we could equate lives lost (or saved) to gallons of gas. Would it be a thousand gallons per life? A million?

  11. I know you are joking, but just to point out. Adding weights to the car will only make things worse. The weight has to be placed in steal making the frame of the car stronger, and adding material to absorb the energy of the impact. 1000 pounds of lead in the trunk will just make the accident worse.

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